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September 7, 2022 12:35 pm

10,000 Hasidic Jews Expected to Make Rosh Hashanah Pilgrimage to Uman, Ukrainian Official Says

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Hasidic Jews are seen praying at the synagogue in Uman, Ukraine. Photo: Reuters/Teun Voeten

Around 10,000 Hasidic Jews are expected to make the annual Jewish New Year pilgrimage to the Ukrainian city of Uman, despite warnings from the local authorities to stay away because of the high risk of a Russian attack.

Speaking to the Ukrainian news agency UNN on Wednesday, Ihor Taburets — the head of the military administration in the Cherkassy region — confirmed that he “expects about 10,000 Hasidim will come to Uman to celebrate Rosh Hashana.”

Uman is the location of the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the revered founder of the Breslover Hasidim. Once home to a thriving Jewish community that was decimated during the Nazi Holocaust, several Orthodox families have moved to the city since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. They are mainly concentrated around the Rabbi’s tomb, which attracts thousands of worshipers from Israel, the US and other countries during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In 2021, nearly 30,000 Hasidic pilgrims celebrated the holiday in Uman.

Taburets said that “preventive measures are currently being implemented by our National Police Department and other relevant services.” He emphasized that appeals had been made to Jewish organizations to refrain from travel to Uman this year, but these “did not yield results.”

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Pilgrims arriving in Uman would receive security briefings from local law enforcement officials. “We will try to produce special leaflets with short instructions on action,” he said, adding that the organizers of the pilgrimage would be ready to receive guests from abroad.

A ban on mass events in Uman remains in place from Sept. 19-30 and access to the holy sites in Uman will be restricted as well; Rosh Hashana itself falls on Sept.24-25. Taburets said last week that these decisions had been taken because of the “high probability of missile strikes and a terrorist threat as a result of the actions of the Russian side aimed at destabilizing international relations and harming the international image of Ukraine.”

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